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The ONE Thing Fundraisers Cannot Do Right Now

Last week, I offered free consultations to any mission-driven organization that needs help or advice right now in the midst of COVID-19.*

Many of you have taken me up on this offer and we’ll be sharing your questions along with our answers over the next few weeks. But, first, I wanted to make sure you heard something that you might really need to hear right now.

Whatever you do: Don’t stop fundraising!


You may be experiencing a bit of paralysis in response to our new reality, and that’s okay! That was me last week, so we’re in this together.

While there are plenty of things you might feel limited from doing right now (or things that just seem pointless), the one thing I know you can’t do is stop your fundraising efforts.

If you were to stop fundraising, you wouldn’t necessarily notice an immediate difference right away (that’s how the little anti-fundraising devil on your shoulder wins). There are few immediate reactions to putting a temporary pause on your fundraising efforts. After all, maybe you’re only planning to pause for just a few weeks or a month. You might see a bit less engagement on social, maybe fewer clicks on your emails, but nothing that truly impacts revenue, right?

Wrong.

Those metrics DO impact revenue. And, more importantly, you can’t measure what isn’t happening. You can’t measure all the people who aren’t giving to you because you aren’t asking them. You can’t easily measure lost opportunity.

So, here’s what I would do:

If you are in need of revenue immediately, I would serve up some emails, social ads, google ads, phone calls, etc. quickly. Like, yesterday. I would be very clear about the situation you’re in. If your world has been thrown off because of the pandemic, share that with your supporters. They care about you. They want to help you.

As I alluded to above, we’re not just talking about one email or one letter—you want to do an actual “campaign.” Your supporters should be seeing your ask on multiple channels like Facebook, email, etc. You’ve got to get their attention at a time when everything is soliciting their attention. If they don’t see you, they may not remember you.

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While this requires money, many of these channels do not require as much of an investment as you might imagine. And increased screen time these days means more eyes on digital ads. Our free Marketing Campaign Template can help you set up a quick strategy to get your fundraising campaign up and running.

I would try to reach donors NOW before everyone gets too fatigued. For most of the country, this still feels “new” and we’re in a giving spirit. Those of us who are healthy and lucky want to be of service. Give us a way to help!

Now, if you don’t need revenue immediately, you will pretty soon. One strategy that elicited a donation from me last week was an email from a local affordable housing nonprofit called Foundation Communities. Their initial email letting me know how they were caring for their residents included this gem:

“We appreciate all the offers of support and help. On top of health worries, we realize that many of our residents can expect a loss of wages because of reduced work hours. We know our Emergency Rental Assistance Fund may be quickly depleted. We may be reaching out for help with this. Stay tuned.”

When they emailed me just four days later, the email read:

“We are humbled by the offers of support for our residents. In addition to health concerns, many are struggling with shorter work hours or loss of work altogether.

What we need most is more money in our EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FUND.

We use this fund to help residents with basic needs:

  • Rent
  • Groceries
  • Medical Assistance
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Basic Household Items

After making sure you have taken care of your own families, please consider making a donation of any amount HERE. Together we can get through this!”

I immediately made a donation.

The Data to Back It Up

In case you need data to back up the idea that you must keep fundraising, here’s some reassuring news to share for nonprofits using Google Ads (including Google Ad Grants):

“In times of crisis, we often see the best in people, and that’s even true on the Google SERP. As COVID-19 has spread, non-profits and charities have seen:

  • A 10% increase in search ad impressions.
  • A 23% increase in search ad conversions.
  • A 20% increase in search ad conversion rate.”

That’s it. We’re here if you need us.

*We’re still offering free consultations, by the way. Just send a quick email to hello@mightycitizen.com letting us know how we can help.

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